It’s that time of the year when the rains invite us out to the trails and when everything is lush and green. It’s a great time to fall back in love with running, as the monsoons bring relief from the cruel summer and make it easier for you to run, sometimes even in the afternoon. And you will likely visit a hill station or two to make the most of the monsoon.

So why not throw in a spot of hill running, along with a weekend trip. As the name suggests, it involves a lot of climbing up and running down slopes, meaning you need to get your legs working double hard. As with any form of exercise, some care must be taken to ensure an injury-free run. Here’s what you should look out for when going hill running this monsoon.

For The Ascent
A major part of hill running is climbing. Start off slowly and steer clear of tracks that are too steep. If you don’t find a suitable spot at first, walk up and try to get to an easier part. Wrecking your legs is not the objective, so don’t run up regardless of how the terrain looks.

It’s better to stay safe by combining spells of walking with your run if you are unfamiliar with the terrain. Slowdown on turns like you would when driving. Walking is another excellent way of strengthening your thigh muscles and quadriceps, especially when you are doing it at a brisk pace. A brisk walk up hill is as good as a fast jog on a flat terrain. It will keep you energised and burn a lot of calories.

Prep for it: Add a bit of incline to your workout on the treadmill. The instant increase in the heart rate makes you burn more calories, and get used to running on a slope. The incline also targets the thighs, hamstrings and butt areas, which also need to be strong for a painless hill run.

Squats never fail for deep stretching (Image: Shape Magazine)
Squats never fail for deep stretching (Image: Shape Magazine)

Home workouts: Squats
Squats are the easiest way to get started on glute and thigh strengthening, especially if done with the right form. For your home workout, you don’t even need weights to get going.

Just download the mobiefit BODY app and register. Get into Quick Workouts and choose lower body to get started with a range of squats that you can do at home. Get videos and instructions for everything from deep squats to lateral squats to plyometric squats.


For The Descent
Running downhill fast is a great temptation, and unfortunately, one that leaves too many novice runners taking a tumble. Go slow; hill running takes a lot of practice, and it’s never like that superhero movie. Even if you aren’t running downhill, the act of carefully balancing yourself on possibly slippery slopes is a great workout for those quads, glutes and your hamstring. If you can begin brisk walking when coming down, you will get a fair bit of idea of how the slope responds. Prepare for the descent by walking first and then running after the first few hundred metres.

Prep for it: Glutes aren’t as active as other muscles during routine activities, especially if you are sitting for long periods. You need to isolate your glute workouts to target them. Tight hip flexors can inhibit the firing of glute muscles. Do this stretch after every run. Step forward and lower your back knee. Keep your knee over your ankle. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

Get going on a hilly terrain with the mobiefit RUN free app for 5K. Perfect for a run-walk combo to get beginners familiarised with new terrain

For beginners, we always advise waiting for a running mate before going hill running, but if that’s not the case, don’t underestimate your terrain. That little consideration goes a long way.

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